News & Notes

December 10, 2022 – Deconstructing the Austen Coverlet

We celebrated Jane Austen’s 247th birthday at our December meeting, complete with a special pot-luck lunch, a birthday cake, the annual birthday toast and a fundraiser prize draw for some great gifts. JASNA-Vancouver member, and experienced quilter Carole Wylie presented: ‘So much more than a bedcover; deconstructing the Austen coverlet”, a talk based on her own knowledge of the traditional skills used to make the Austen’s family quilt; plus, she led us in a ‘hands-on’ craft activity.

On display was a full-size replica of the original Austen quilt that is held at Chawton Cottage. Some members brought their own handiwork to share as well.

November 12, 2022 – AGM Reflections

Several members shared their 2022 JASNA AGM experiences.

September 12, 2022 – “Illustrations of Sense and Sensibility” by Keiko Parker

Our speaker for our first meeting of the 2022/23 JASNA Vancouver season was our very own Keiko Parker. The title of her presentation was “Illustrations of Sense and Sensibility.” This talk will be presented at the AGM in Victoria (September 30 – October 2). From the AGM programme: “This visual presentation will focus on the various scenes from Sense and Sensibility illustrated by five different artists, including comparisons of the same scenes by various illustrators and their different approaches to the subject. There will be explanations of the artists’ methodology and their efforts for truthful recreation of 18th-century life. The illustrators discussed will include Hugh Thomson, The Brock Brothers (Charles and Henry), A.W. Mills, and Joan Hassall.”

June 11, 2022 – Books & Berries + Book Sale

We enjoyed listening to member’s reviews of the books they have been reading this year, and walked away with a few new reads from the book sale. Our Bountiful Basket draw was also held and the winner was Elizabeth Liddell.

The books reviewed were:

“Charlotte” by Helen Moffett (recommended by Lorraine Meltzer) – Set 7 years after her marriage to Mr. Collins, Charlotte rekindles her friendship with Elizabeth. From Good Reads, “Fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon.”

“The Canterbury Tales, An illustrated selection rendered into modern English” by Nevill Coghill (1951);

“The Canterbury Tales, an Illustrated Edition, Translated into Modern English” by Nevill Coghill (1986);

“Tales of the Canterbury Pilgrims Retold from Chaucer & Others” by E.J. Harvey Darton (1904);

“The Pocket Chaucer” by Theodore Morrison (1955); and

“The Life & Times of Chaucer” by John Gardner (1977) (recommended by Keiko Parker)

“Pride & Premeditation” and “Sense & Second Degree Murder” by Tirzah Price (recommended by Naomi Sutherland) – Murder mysteries with the same Austen characters we know and love.

“Hamnet & Judith” by Maggie O’Farrell (recommended by Carol Sutherland) – Historical fiction. A clever story about grief centered around Shakespeare’s children (twins).

“Still Life” by Sarah Winman (recommended by Elspeth Flood) – Historical fiction containing quirky and memorable characters.

May 14, 2022 – AGM Updates & a Talk Given by the JASNA Canada President

In anticipation of the upcoming AGM in our very own region of British Columbia, we were joined by two guest speakers:

Alison Brown, the AGM coordinator, provided us with an early insider’s view into the upcoming meeting in Victoria and answered our questions about this important event.

Elaine Bender, President, JASNA Canada gave a presentation entitled: “Performing to Strangers: Private Art and Public Performance.” In this talk, Bander considered why Jane Austen, herself an accomplished writer, never created a heroine who makes art for the market-place, and explored the distinction in both Austen’s world and Austen’s writing between art performed in private, among friends, and art performed in public, for profit.

April 9, 2022 – Celebrating JASNA Vancouver’s 40th Anniversary on Jane Austen Day!

For Jane Austen Day this year, our members got to enjoy a full program including two speakers, lunch and cake. What an enjoyable time we had! The theme of the day was “The Best-Chosen Language” and our guest speakers, Michelle Levy and Betty Schellenberg – both professors of English at SFU – gave thought-provoking presentations. Michelle presented her recent research on “The Watsons” as a fragment that Austen left “unfinished” and the idea of what it means to not finish or even to unfinish something, including reference to other unfinished writing (Lady Susan, Sanditon). Betty spoke about her research on the manuscript poetry books created by individuals in Jane Austen’s time, connecting these collections to Jane through relations of hers who created such books, and through her own practice of making manuscript books (e.g. The History of England).

A special thanks to the several members who worked to make the day a success by volunteering to help with all of the details such as coffee and tea service by Isabel Wilson and Barbara Phillips ; table cloths and memorabilia display provided by Pam; cake pick-up/delivery by Elspeth Flood; napkins, centerpiece lanterns and programs by Joan Reynolds; Sense & Sensibility reading by Lorraine Meltzer; equipment set-up and management for the Zoom component by Michelle Siu; and of course, coordination of the day’s program by our regional coordinator, Janice Mallison.

March 12, 2022 – Member Presentations: Jane Austen’s most comical characters

JASNA Vancouver members Phyllis Ferguson-Bottomer, Elspeth Flood and Lona Manning presented their analyses of a few of Jane Austen’s comical characters: Mr. Collins, Mrs. Elton, Mary Bennet, and Mr. Bennet. It was wonderful to gain new insights into these characters through our members’ thorough research and understanding of what makes characters such as these important in Austen’s storytelling. Their presentations evoked lively discussion and we came away from the meeting having learned more about what made these characters funny and what stock characters, such as the female pedant, were commonly used in Austen’s time. You can read more about this character type in Lona Manning’s Blog.

February 12, 2022 – Brunch at Chawton: A Jane Austen Musicale

February’s meeting featured a recorded plenary session from the Chicago 2021 AGM “Jane Austen and the Arts.” This presentation was a performance at the closing brunch by Stephen Alltop and Josefien Stoppelenburg of musical selections mentioned in Jane Austen’s writing. Maestro Alltop, music director and conductor of the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra at the University of Illinois, was joined by his wife Dutch-born Ms. Stoppelenburg, famed for her sparkling vocal agility and her passionate and insightful musical interpretations. The performance concluded with a rousing (and hilarious) rendition of “The Battle of Prague.” – From Newsletter 155, Elspeth Flood

December 11, 2021 – An intriguing look at the current work and analytical potential of The Women’s Print History Project (WPHP)

Dr. Kandice Sharren is project manager of the Women’s Print History Project at SFU, a bibliographic relational database of women’s contributions to publishing during the “long 18th century” from the 1780s to the 1820s. It currently covers in excess of 19,000 titles, all cross-referenced by writers, publishers, editors. The database contextualizes JA’s writing to her time and her peers.

Sharren spoke about each publisher JA worked with and about her arrangements with them, and also about the other women writers those publishers were publishing at the same time. She conveyed a great deal of interesting information about the publishing industry and print processes, and about different genres of writing that women were engaged in and the different forms of publication. A lively Q&A followed. – From Newsletter 154, Elspeth Flood using notes by Lorraine Meltzer

November 13, 2021 – “Space, Voice, and Reimagination:  Narrative Discourse in Austen’s Late Fiction”

It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Lindsey Seatter, Faculty Member of Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, B.C., to discuss Jane Austen’s signal contributions to the many changes which the novel underwent during the course of the 19th Century.

In her second visit to JASNA Vancouver, Ms. Seatter described how Austen gave her female characters the kind of “free and indirect discourse” in which they could express themselves in a way that was quite new. The many societal and political changes such as the French Revolution and the technological changes sweeping her country were not the subject of  her writing but nevertheless her novels represented “a mark of modernity in the 19th Century.” Her style of layering voices and blending and balancing first and third person syntax “allowed the characters to express interior consciousness.”

Ms. Seatter mentioned three novels to illustrate Austen’s recognition of the changing times. The heroine of Emma comes at last to understand that a tenant farmer like Robert Martin may expect to have his proposal accepted even by her own special friend and that his proposal may actually have been all his own and not helped along by sisters. In Persuasion, Anne Elliot, a gentleman’s daughter, breaks free from an antiquated system to marry a naval captain against her father’s wishes. And Sanditon illustrates how a member of the merchant class desires to create a seaside resort to offer pleasure-seeking customers a wonderful place to enjoy themselves.

October 16, 2021 – Together Again

On Oct. 16, twenty-three JASNA Vancouver members gathered for the first time since early last year in the Fireside Room of St. Philip’s Anglican Church, our venue for many years. Everyone agreed it was wonderful to again be in company with “clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation.”

COVID 19 safety regulations were followed exactly and, though it was not possible to enjoy our usual potluck lunch, members had a wonderful time chatting and catching up with familiar faces though every face was covered with a mask!

We watched a video from the 2020 JASNA Virtual AGM presented by Professor Douglas Murray on “The Female ‘Ramble Novel’ and Austen’s Juvenilia and ‘How We Read Pride and Prejudice.’”   It was a novel look at Austen’s P&P through the style of a long-forgotten genre and had us considering how coming generations of Austen devotees may look at future fiction through the lens of the current volume of Austen-related vampire teen romances!

Food for thought!

Michelle welcomes everyone to the Oct. 16 meeting.

Happy to be together again!

Professor Douglas Murray’s presentation from last year’s JASNA AGM

June 12, 2021 – “Books And Berries” and a Look at How Austen and Her Fellow Women Writers Began a Foray into the Historical Record

Our final meeting of the year via Zoom offered members the chance to view a video presentation from the 2020 JASNA AGM entitled “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History: Jane Austen, Women Historians and Histories of Women.”  Caitlin Kelly and Misty Krueger co-presented this look into how women writers were beginning to weave the historical changes sweeping the world into their novels in ways that were quite new. Austen and her fellow female authors increasingly were allowing changes in global events, societal trends, and the politics of the age to be reflected in their works. Austen’s “History of England” which she wrote at the age of 15, is a case study in writing about historical figures in a manner that pokes some fun at  historians who take the subjects of their work all too seriously.

Following the video, several members discussed books they have recently enjoyed. We thank them all for their entertaining summaries.

Keiko Parker explained that the year of the pandemic offered her a unique opportunity to explore books about Arthurian legends collected over the years. These included: The Arthurian Legends, an Illustrated Anthology Selections and Introductions by Richard Barber, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King from Signet Classics, Keith Baines’ book of Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and the Sidney Lanier edition of The Boy’s King Arthur.

Marjorie Johnson reviewed The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. This book, which takes place during the Great Depression, showcases the amazing resilience of characters caught up in forces beyond their control.

Phyllis Ferguson highlighted a Canadian novel entitled Molly of the Mall by the Edmontonian author Heidi L.M. Jacobs. The book was awarded the Stephen Leacock 2020 Memorial Medal for Humour. Phyllis then reviewed Life in the Garden and other titles by the British author Penelope Lively.

Janice Mallison reflected on The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald. The historical novel which takes place at a fictional Cambridge College called St. Angelicus was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Julia Van Delft discussed Heartstone a historical fantasy written by Elle Katharine White which has a close connection to Pride and Prejudice but also, says Julia, “includes dragons.”

Marion Davies reviewed The Other Knight Boys: Jane Austen’s Dispossessed Nephews by Hazel Jones and also provided information about a science-fiction-themed novel by the Nobel prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro called Klara and the Sun.

As this was our annual Books and Berries meeting, though we were unable to meet in person, many members enjoyed a selection of ripe sun-kissed summer berries and delicious toppings to celebrate the last meeting before the summer break in July and August.

See you in September. Information will be posted on our website explaining how meetings will be held in the fall.

May 10, 2021 – via Zoom: A look at how Jane Austen’s female characters with few pecuniary resources contributed to our understanding of Regency women and their lives.

Members of our Vancouver Region discuss Austen’s characters who were examples of what Regency  women did without family wealth and means or contracting a good marriage.

Our first speaker, Joan, really got into character as she offered reasons why Northanger Abbey’s Isabella Thorpe acted as she did. Jilting Catherine Morley’s brother and taking up with Captain Tilney was, she explained, simply a way to improve her circumstances as otherwise she might never “live the life I was meant for.” Isabella knew she was destined for better things, pointing out that others often spoke of her great personal beauty coupled with her amiable disposition. With such attributes, how could she, as a lady of information and great reader of novels, settle for being a governess, a woman’s companion, or keeping house for a brother? Isabella then dropped a few hints concerning an older gentleman of her acquaintance living in Bath, “a sweet, dear man of property who appreciates the finer things of life.” She might, however, have an uphill battle to secure him as he has a nephew capable of doing almost anything to get his uncle’s property. In spite of ill usage from others, including her former dear friend Catherine and Captain Tilney Isabella seems assured she will, at last, land on her feet!

Next, Phyllis described Miss Bates from Austen’s Emma as an example of a woman who has fallen from comfortable circumstances as time passes. Miss Bates, now in middle life, is reduced to caring for an elderly mother. Though once well respected, she never had many opportunities nor training. Mr. Knightley, upset at Emma’s treatment of Miss Bates, upbraids her for ridiculing the spinster’s sinking. When he tells her it was “badly done” we must, I think, agree with him.

Our third speaker Janice discussed another of Austen’s financially vulnerable characters. Lucy Steele  very early in life assured herself of a good marriage and income by being engaged to Edward Ferrars. Later, she threw off Edward in favour of his brother Robert who, as an eldest son, would inherit their father’s wealth and property. Lucy’s efforts are in sharp contrast to those of Elinor Dashwood who, though also in reduced circumstances thanks to her brother John and his wife, makes up her mind not to pursue Edward. Edward also acts honourably. He stands by his engagement to Lucy although he has fallen in love with Elinor.

Next Phyllis talked about Charlotte Lucas and her oft-questioned marriage to Mr. Collins. Charlotte, at twenty-seven, was older than most Austen heroines and likely considered already “on the shelf.” She was not of a romantic nature so was perhaps not looking for romance. And, though her marriage to Collins, a “pedantic, socially awkward” fellow might not appeal to many, it offered amiable compatibility. The Collins probably lived out their lives comfortably perhaps even inheriting Lucas Lodge and ending up a prosperous if not terribly well-matched couple.

Keiko  examined Austen’s very vulnerable character, Fanny Price, from Mansfield Park. Fanny is very badly treated by her Bertram cousins and Aunt Norris but does at last stand up for herself against the forces of evil in the person of Henry Crawford. Fanny, it is evident, will not be cowed into giving up her principles. She is rewarded, not only by marrying her love, Edmund who alone was kind to her from the first, but by becoming the most beloved niece of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram perhaps because their own children turned out to greatly disappoint.

Barbara described the plight of two Persuasion characters: Mrs. Smith, a friend of Anne Elliot, and Mrs. Clay, the widowed daughter of Sir Walter Elliot’s lawyer. Both lacked means. But Mrs. Smith’s troubles were not of her own making but due to Mr. Walter Elliot persuading her husband Mr. Smith into loaning him money. However, when Mr. Smith dies, Mr. Elliot refuses to reimburse Mrs. Smith and it was not until Captain Wentworth, at Anne’s suggestion, helped recover her money that Mrs. Smith rises to better circumstances. Mrs. Clay, on the other hand, though we may sympathize with her as a poor widow, used questionable means to get herself a better life. As companion to Elizabeth Elliot, she ingratiates herself with Sir Walter in the hopes of marrying him. At the same time, she has formed an attachment with Sir Walter’s nephew Mr. Eliot thinking if she did not marry the older gentleman, she would marry the younger.

April 10, 2021 – Jane Austen Day in Vancouver, A GREAT SUCCESS!

Like other JASNA regions, Jane Austen Vancouver members have continued to meet via Zoom during the pandemic. However our annual Jane Austen Day would be a special challenge as we normally have speakers in both the morning and afternoon followed by a wonderful catered lunch and special interactive activities, possibly panel discussions. Happily our Program Committee was very much up to the challenge and the April 10 event turned out a great success.

Our morning speaker Gordon Laco is an historian and Canadian Naval Officer who has had a fascinating career not only on the high seas but as an advisor to over 60 film projects including “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” This movie which is set aboard a Royal Navy frigate in the year 1805 starred Australian actor Russell Crowe. Mr. Laco, who served as Captain of HMS BEE, a replica of an 1812 warship, gave an often humorous account of challenges he faced as a “museum person” called upon to work with “movie people” to ensure their films would have authenticity.

Concerning how the British Navy operated when Jane Austen’s brothers were at sea, Mr. Laco laid to rest stories of seamen being forced to survive on execrable food and fear of harsh floggings. The truth, he said, is that ships’ rations were well governed by Acts of Parliament. Young recruits could learn a trade on board ship and retired sailors were given pensions. Medical care in the Navy was often far superior to that available on dry land and discipline, though strict, was not vicious. “Mast heading” required a sailor climb up the rigging to the  mast where he had to endure foul weather as a form of punishment. On the other hand, he was allowed to take books with him to pass the time.

After enjoying lunch at home we were treated to an interview by Janice Mallison of her father Tony Elliott, a World War II British Navy veteran. Tony’s stories of  naval life – long periods from home combined with exciting adventures at sea -were most interesting and included being on a ship when the Korean War broke out. Thanks for the delightful talk, Tony

Then it was on to a fun-filled Scavenger Hunt over Zoom which everyone thoroughly enjoyed before we welcomed afternoon speaker Dr. Lise Gaston from the University of Victoria to discuss “Jane Austen’s Bodies: Late Works and Family Legacy.” Though several family members wrote biographies of her  after her death, few saw in her writing her vision of a coming new and more fractured society. However, near the beginning of her unfinished novel “Sanditon” Austen describes a dangerous overturning of a carriage followed by tumultuous events which seem to suggest a “modern temporal consciousness in which an unsettled present contains both the past and a speculative future thereby both anticipating and resisting her Victorian biographers’ attempts at textual and historical and even bodily containment.” When asked  which Austen biography she prefers, Dr. Gaston mentioned Carol Shields’ highly rated book “Jane Austen: a Life” published in 2005.

March 13, 2021 – “What did the Austen Children Wear and Why? New Trends in British Children’s Clothing, 1760 – 1800”

On the morning of March 13, our JASNA Vancouver members were fortunate to view a Zoom video presentation from Alden O’Brien, Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Daughters of the  American Revolution Museum in Washington, D.C.

Ms. O’Brien gave an overview of the revolutionary changes to children’s clothing during Jane Austen’s lifetime. While clothing worn by toddlers and older children had previously been replications of adult fashions, changing ideas about children and their activities began to influence their clothes. In quite a short space of time, such innovative designs were adopted by most families of the period.

The rather sudden departure from dressing little ones as miniature adults seems to have its impetus in the growing ideas that children should be free to move easily in their clothes. No more boned and panniered dresses for girls or very young boys, no more satin suits for boys! Children should not feel cramped; their clothes should fit more loosely on the body. In short, children should be comfortable which must have been a very welcome change!

By 1800, these novel ideas were becoming commonplace at all levels of society due, said Ms. O’Brien, in  large measure, to the period of the Enlightenment which generated  new concepts including the advancement of human rights, liberty and even “the romantic notions of the nature of childhood.”

This video, which was warmly received by our members, was shown at the 2000 virtual JASNA AGM.

February 13, 2021 – Jane Austen, Netley Abbey, and Gothic Tourism

On the morning of February 13, JASNA Vancouver members were joined by Janeites from around the globe to watch a virtual video presentation from Dr. Cheryl Butler on the close connections between Jane Austen’s visits to Southhampton and the nearby gothic style Netley Abbey which likely influenced her novel “Northanger Abbey.”

Dr. Butler, who holds degrees in history and drama from Southampton University and is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Winchester and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, explained how Austen’s visit as a very young girl to Southampton led to tragic consequences. An outbreak of endemic typhus occurred and while Jane and her sister Cassandra did recover their aunt Mrs. Cooper died.

Later, Jane and Cassandra paid an extended and much more enjoyable visit to Southampton where they became  intimate with the Butler Harrison family through their cousin, Elizabeth Austen, John Butler Harrison’s wife. They also attended  dances, assemblies and other entertainments and enjoyed the company of Butler Harrison’s elite friends.

It was also Jane’s chance to visit the ruins of the nearby Netley Abbey, famously a house where a horrible death had occurred. The story goes that, after a builder named Walter Taylor ignored a warning in a dream not to remove a stone from one of the abbey’s medieval windows, he decided to proceed. Unfortunately the stone became dislodged and killed him.

Thus began rampant rumours of the abbey’s being cursed. Soon authors of the day were intrigued enough to visit Netley to see if indeed the stories were true. Among them was Horace Walpole who, after coming in 1755, described the ruins as “vast, and (with) fragments of beautiful fretted roofs pendent in the air, with all variety of Gothic patterns of windows wrapped round and round with ivy.”

Dr. Butler explained that, soon after visiting Netley Jane wrote a poem entitled “Ode to Pity” which, she said, “could quite easily have been entitled an “Ode to Netley Abbey.”

Around 1797, shortly after another visit to Southampton, Jane went to Bath where she wrote the first version of a novel which subsequently became “Northanger Abbey.” In the book, the seventeen-year-old heroine becomes a fervent reader of gothic novels and, when she visits a nearby abbey, becomes convinced that something very terrible has taken place there.

The manuscript which Jane had originally entitled “Susan” was not actually published until after her death. She did, however, make another visit to Southhampton where she, her mother and sister and their family friend Martha Lloyd joined together with her brother Frank Austen and his wife to rent a property on Castle Square.

When Jane and her family relocated to Chawton, the “Susan” manuscript which had languished for years with a publisher was reclaimed by her brother Henry. As he was familiar with the rumours surrounding Netley Abbey he suggested Jane change the novel’s name to “Northanger Abbey.” The book was finally published in December of 1817.

December 12, 2020 – “Harmony and Melody in Jane Austen’s World”

UBC Professor Emeritus Jesse Read

On the morning of December 12th 54 members and guests enjoyed a virtual “Zoom” meeting featuring UBC Professor Emeritus Jesse Read’s presentation ‘Harmony and Melody in Jane Austen’s World.’

Janeites from as far away as Wales, parts of Canada and the United States and, closer to home, Vancouver Island, joined us for our last meeting of 2020.

As always we toasted Jane Austen’s December 16th birthday and, this year, commemorated the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, born on December 16th 1770, just five years before Jane.

Professor Read, an acclaimed bassoonist who has played with many orchestras both local and international and who is a specialist in 18th-century music, gave a dazzling presentation of the history of musical instruments and the songs of the Regency period, introducing music manuscripts used by families such as the Austens to entertain themselves and their guests. A collection of 17 music albums belonging to Jane and her female relations is available on the University of Southhampton website under the title ‘The Austen Family Music Books’. The collection is described as a fine example of ‘domestic music-making which was often drawn from the theatres and pleasure gardens of London where the music printing trade exploded at the end of the 18th Century.’ Professor Read described various models of harpsichords and pianofortes, the ‘square Broadwood’, etc. and spoke of the connection to pianofortes in Austen’s ‘Emma’ when the musically-accomplished Jane Fairfax receives a mysterious gift of a pianoforte which kept all Highbury, especially Emma, guessing. He also talked of Beethoven’s ‘musical duel’ with Daniel Steibelt, a piano virtuoso, who vied with his rival to prove who was the greater performer. Alas for Steibelt, victory eluded him and he swore never to return to Vienna as long as Beethoven lived there.

After we raised our glasses to Jane, we viewed a video of JASNA members, including our Vancouver Region, giving a “shout out” to other regions to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of JASNA in New York.

February 15, 2020 – “She said ‘yes’ – but was it worth it?”

(left to right) Jennifer, Marjorie, Janice and Phyllis – look at the pros and cons of two Austen marriages.

February 15 –  love was in the air (we hoped) when a panel of our members debated the pros and cons of two of Jane Austen’s most interesting marriages – that of Jane Fairfax to Frank Churchill and Charlotte Lucas to Mr. Collins.

The Churchill alliance between Jane Fairfax and her lover Frank, said panel member Marjorie, was very regrettable because the manifest deficits of Frank’s character were so evident. Jane, she said, would likely come to regret choosing a man whose selfish, even narcissistic, behaviours were revealed in the novel. It was likely, she added, that Frank’s flaws would become even more prominent in the future.

Janice (second from right) however, said she thought the marriage had good points, particularly especially that it would rescue Jane from a life of genteel poverty (like her aunt’s). Also, Frank’s stellar financial resources ensured she would not have to remain with her family or be a governess in the home of an employer who might make her life a burden.

Phyllis (standing) gave her opinion that Charlotte Lucas, in accepting Mr. Collins, took the only course that would provide her with a respectable home of her own and likely the chance to have a child who would care for her in her old age. And marriage, said Phyllis, was not only the solution to spinsterhood it was very understandable because women’s access to education was almost non-existent.

Jennifer, however, vehemently denied that such a loveless marriage between Charlotte and Mr. Collins was desirable. The union, she said, would likely prove far more difficult in the coming years than Charlotte recognized. An escape from spinsterhood it might be – but at what price?

After a spirited discussion of these conflicting views, our members voted. Suffice it to say that most showed great sympathy for young women of the period whose ability to find a suitable mate might be few if they were not as pretty or as fashionable as others or if they came from a somewhat impoverished background.

Congratulations to our panelists who came well able to argue their points of view and open the door to a thought-provoking and entertaining discussion!

December 14, 2019 – Exploring Artists in the Time of Austen:  Blake, Lawrence, Constable and Turner

On December 14th we were most fortunate to welcome Justin Newell, renown local lecturer on art history, for a lively and very humorous talk on artists who were contemporaries of Jane Austen. Mr. Newell, a graduate of York University in Toronto, drew from his great store of knowledge of art gleaned through many years of research in Europe’s finest museums and libraries to describe how William Blake, Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner were influenced by artists from centuries past. We were treated to many photos of how these four produced sketches which became the finished works which today fetch enormous sums at auction and are prized by museums throughout the world.

After obtaining his educational credentials, Mr. Newell spent a significant amount of time in Italy, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, England, France and Greece researching major collections and studying current and historical events. He has taught at UBC, Capilano University, Douglas College, and many private institutions and been a guest lecturer on several cruise lines including Silversea, Celebrity, Costa. At UBC, he created and taught painting courses including Painting Techniques of the Masters and participated in the Coquitlam School Board’s “Artist in the School” program, teaching painting and lecturing on Greek myth.

As is usual in December, members enjoyed a wonderful Christmas luncheon with all the trimmings and raised a glass for a “Happy Birthday” toast to commemorate Jane Austen’s birthday. We also dug deep to buy tickets for the draw which featured members’ donated items. Thanks to all who helped with the set up and decorations, serving the meal, and volunteering for the clean-up. A special thanks to Barbara Phillips for the ham, delicious as always.

November 16, 2019 – Sherlock Holmes & Jane Austen: Love and Marriage Versus Crime Detection

On November 16, Dr. Sheldon Goldfarb from the Stormy Petrels of B.C. (Sherlock Holmes Society) delighted members with a very amusing presentation entitled “Conan Doyle is no Jane Austen.” The celebrated author of the Sherlock Holmes canon, said Dr. Goldfarb, wrote very few novels on the subject that most concerned Jane Austen, that of love and marriage. In fact, “the happy couple” in Conan Doyle’s stories, he said, was far more likely to refer to the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and his ever-faithful sidekick (and partner in crime detection) Dr. Watson than that of the married doctor’s own domestic partner!

Dr. Goldfarb has recently published a collection of his articles on the Great Detective which is now available through Amazon under the name “Sherlockian Musings.”

The Stormy Petrels meets locally each month to discuss and share opinions on Sherlock Holmes novels. New members are most cordially welcomed. For more information, go to

October 19, 2019 – Celebrating the Founding of JASNA:

Damaris and Janice stand before a photo of two of three JASNA co-founders, the late Joan Austen Leigh and the late J. David Grey, during our celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of JASNA.

The late Joan Austen-Leigh, a collateral descendent of Jane Austen, was one of three co-founders of JASNA, therefore we were delighted to welcome her daughter, Damaris Brix, in October to give us many fascinating details about the launch of one of this continent’s most beloved literary societies. It all began, said Damaris, with a friendship between her mother, the late Henry O. Burke, and the late J. David Grey, and their united conviction that a North American Jane Austen Society would greatly appeal to dedicated Austen readers on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Members were treated to a selection of Austen-Leigh’s memorabilia including her scrapbooks, files, and photo albums along with a slide show filled with historical information which brought the organization’s founding to life. We all rose to drink a toast to the 40th anniversary of JASNA which was officially founded on Oct. 5, 1979, at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York.

Also on the program were reports by several members who attended the recent JASNA AGM in Williamsburg, Virginia.

September 14, 2019 – First Fall Meeting Highlights Regency Card Games

The game was afoot (apologies to both William Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) when members returned from our Summer Break on September 14 to learn all about the card game “Whist”, a very popular pastime enjoyed in the Georgian and Regency periods. First up was a YouTube video describing how the game is played followed by everyone, according to Elspeth Flood who prepared this report, having the opportunity to play several “very noisy hands!”

Also on the agenda was an interesting report from Joan Reynolds of her summer trip to Chawton for the English Jane Austen Society AGM. Joan met our member Sheila Armstrong-Jones who was taking the JASNA tour of England and heard an account of her tour experiences which, she said, had been described by the tour guide as “the smoothest in memory!”

June 15, 2019 – Another Successful Books & Berries

Thanks to these members who gave informative and discerning reviews of books recently read:

  1.  Aileen Hollifield:  (1) “Jane Austen at Home” by Lucy Worsley and (2) “Jane Austen’s Diet, Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness” by Bryan Kozlowski.
  2. Keiko Parker:  (1) “Victoria the Queen” by Julia Baird and (2) “Catherine the Great” by Robert K. Massie.
  3.  Joan Reynolds: “Jane Austen, the Secret Radical” by Helena Kelly.
  4.  Barbara Phillips: “The Last Attachment:  The Story of Byron and Teresa Guiccioli” by Iris Onga.
  5. Lorraine Meltzer:  “Cassandra and Jane:  A Jane Austen Novel” by Jill Pitkeathley.
  6. Nancy McLean:  “Caty:  A Biography of Catherine Littlefield Greene” by John Stegeman and Janet Stegeman.

April 13, 2019 – Jane Austen Day

On April 13, Jane Austen Day 2019, we welcomed Dr. Charles Carroll who gave a thought-provoking talk entitled “An Adjustment in the Wellspring of the Booty:  Jane Austen and Emotional Self-Regulation.” Dr. Carroll, in considering a number of gentlemen in Austen’s novels, suggested that some characters such as Willoughby in “Sense and Sensibility” have fallen victim to criticism by readers for jilting the love of his life Marianne Dashwood and marrying a woman he did not love although not to do so would have meant his social and financial ruin. On the other hand, said Dr. Carroll, others such as Captain Wentworth in “Persuasion” are considered heroic though career privateers sought to capture enemy ships and kill England’s foes. A lively discussion followed with members debating the pros and cons of judging the choices of those living in earlier times by modern day standards.

After a wonderful catered luncheon, we gathered to enjoy a fascinating presentation by Melanie Talkington entitled “Corsets:  melding the body and mind in society.” Ms Talkington, proprietor of “Lace Embrace Atelier”, displayed examples of period underwear including an assortment of “stays” worn in the Regency period which required the use of whalebone baleen to provide support to undergarments. Forty of Ms. Talkington’s creations were included in a lingerie exhibition in the Louvre a few years ago and she maintains an extensive collection of corsets, bustles, underpinnings and lingerie which will soon by displayed in a museum in her shop at 219 East 16th Avenue in Vancouver. For more information, go to

March 2, 2019 – Presenting Fanny Palmer: Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister

Sheila Johnson Kindred with her recent book: “Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen.”

Our March guest speaker, Sheila Johnson Kindred, treated members to a fascinating account of the very sea-worthy Fanny Palmer Austen, wife of Charles Austen, Jane’s seafaring brother. We heard, courtesy of Fanny’s prolific letter-writing, of her many adventures raising a family on the high seas and also of the anxieties of marriage to a career navy officer which necessitated hard-to-bear separations. The Bermuda-born Fanny, according to Kindred, provided an ideal model for Austen’s character Anne Elliot in “Persuasion” which features a number of men of the British Navy including the dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth. Captain Wentworth’s star-crossed wooing of Anne, a source of much unhappiness for both, reaches a happy conclusion with Anne becoming, like Fanny Austen, a wife living aboard her husband’s ship. Kindred’s book “Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen” includes portraits of the auburn-haired Fanny, the handsome Charles Austen along with paintings of his ships. The letters from Fanny to her sister in Bermuda are also reproduced. Sadly, Fanny died in her early twenties after the birth of her third child. Kindred, a JASNA member from Nova Scotia, spoke to our Vancouver members following her book tour to Australia and England.”

February 9, 2019 – Now or Never:  The Origins and Influences of the Kilmarnock Burns


Following his delightful talk Spencer joined Margaret Wood and other JA members for lunch.

Book Historian and Collections Advisor Spencer W. Stuart, who holds a master’s degree in the History of Art from Courtauld Institute in London, England, and now resides in Vancouver, was our special guest on Feb. 9.  In his presentation entitled ‘Now or Never:  The Origins and Influences of the Kilmarnock Burns,’ Spencer gave a sweeping overview of the famed Scottish poet’s literary progress. In July, 1786, ‘Robert Burns Poems:  Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect’ was published, catapulting the 27-year-old ‘Heaven-taught Ploughman’ into Edinburgh literati stardom. Following this meteoric rise Burns’ fame became assured with the publication of the early editions of the ‘Kilmarnock Burns and Edinburgh Editions.’ Jane Austen copied out Burns’ songs for her song book so we know she was well acquainted with his work and was likely a fan. As Spencer remarked, a character in Austen’s novel ‘Sanditon’ responded to another character’s effusive praise of Burns by saying she was ‘not able to separate a Man’s poetry entirely from his character’ which may be taken as a criticism of the poet’s well-known ‘irregular’ mode of living. Burns poetry and songs, as Spencer said, have only grown in popularity and various printings are greatly sought after and have grown significantly in value since his death.


December 15, 2018 – Christmas Luncheon

“Jane Austen Vancouver Region members gathered on the morning of December 15th to partake in a festive Christmas luncheon and to toast our beloved author whose birthday anniversary took place the following day.

Due to popular demand we welcomed Ivan Sayers, Vancouver’s famed historical costumes expert, for an encore presentation which proved a highlight of the year. As always, Ivan delighted everyone with his charming, convivial, and humourous manner. No wonder he is one of our most enduringly popular speakers.”

April 21, 2018 – Basking in the sunshine of a perfect Jane Austen Day

Miranda Burgess

March 17, 2018 – Miranda Burgess on St. Patrick’s Day

We welcomed UBC Associate Professor Miranda Burgess on St. Patrick’s day to speak on Mary Shelley and her famed novel “Frankenstein” published 200 years ago. Here Miranda joins us for our pot-luck luncheon after her presentation which highlighted Shelley’s use of the scientific knowledge of the day to create her “monster hero.

February 17, 2018 – Lindsey Seatter’s research fellowship at Chawton House Library

Our February speaker Lindsey Seatter (wearing JA badge) offered members a fascinating inside look at the coveted experience of being chosen to conduct a research fellowship at Chawton House Library in Hampshire last summer. Ms. Seatter, who is currently completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Victoria, brought along friends and family including her grandmother. In addition, she showed a short film detailing her experience working with other research scholars. For more information on the Chawton House Library, go to

December 16, 2017 – Christmas and Jane Austen’s 242nd birthday

Dec. 16 we celebrated Christmas and Jane Austen’s 242nd birthday with a concert entitled “Opera Comes to Highbury” featuring delightful performances from members of the UBC Opera Ensemble including Baritone Alireza Mojibian and Mezzo-Soprano Charlotte Beglinger accompanied by Professor Richard Epp on piano. Afterwards, we raised a toast to Miss Austen and then tucked into a delicious and very festive luncheon featuring ham and all the trimmings. Thanks to everyone especially Joan Reynolds who worked hard to make the day a rousing success. And thanks also to Pam Ottridge who organized the Silent Auction.

November 18, 2017 – Curating Ever Austen: A Celebration of JA’s Bicentennial Legacy at UBC Library

In November we welcomed (l to r) UBC student Karol Pasciano, winner of the 2015 JASNA Essay Contest, along with Chelsea Shriver, Librarian of UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections, and UBC student Kathryn Ney who all gave a delightful and enthusiastic presentation on the planning and execution of an exhibit held earlier this year to highlight the RBSP’s recent acquisition of Austen’s novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. It proved fortuitous, said Ms. Shriver, that the exhibit held in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, should take place in 2017, the bicentennial of Austen’s death. “Ever Austen: Literary Timelessness in the Regency Period” was a great success and included displays of Austen memorabilia, a panel discussion by Austen scholars and Regency fashions courtesy of well-known fashion expert Ivan Sayers.

Translation donation

Chawton House receives a copy of “Mansfield Park” translated into Japanese from Vancouver JASNA member Keiko Parker during a tour this past October. Mrs. Parker has completed translations of “Emma” and “Persuasion” and is currently hard at work on “Pride and Prejudice.”

June 17, 2017 – Books & Berries

Many thanks to members who reviewed a fresh batch of books for us to add to our summer reading. Also many thanks to those who organized the book sale.

Laureen McMahon reviewed “What Regency Women Did for Us” by Rachel Knowles, a look at 12 Regency women who battled the odds to pursue careers and interests ranging from astronomy to science to architecture to mountain climbing as well as the more familiar careers of acting and literature.

Mary Atkins gave us two books including author William Dersiewicz’s “A Jane Austen Education” where he concludes that, once you begin reading Austen, you simply must continue. Austen, he says, taught him about “Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter!” Then we heard of Sophie Turner’s “Constant Love” series of books, where the author reveals “what happened next” to some Austen characters. In the sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” Elizabeth, now Mrs. Darcy, has her hands full with the demands of running one of the most celebrated estates in the country and Georgiana Darcy has her hands full managing suitors.

Iris Dayson presented “Textiles The Whole Story” by Beverly Gordon. The significance of the use of fabrics throughout human history has been very much underestimated and this vibrantly illustrated book, Iris noted, enlightens the reader on the pivotal role fabrics have played from ancient times to today. “The author bridges past and present, from the Stone Age – when humans first leaned to make cordage and thread – to twenty-first century ‘smart’ fabrics which can regulate body temperature and measure the
wearer’s pulse.”

Sandy Lundy reviewed J.E. Austen-Leigh’s “A Memoir of Jane Austen by Her Nephew” and “Walking to Camelot: A Pilgrimage Along the Macmillan Way Through the Heart of Rural England” by John Cherrington.” While the first book was a family project which provoked disagreement among some Austen relatives, it had the merit of sparking interest in her works and remained the primary biographic work for over a century. In the second book, author Cherrington set out with a friend to walk through many of England’s most picturesque areas. Some of their adventures, said Sandy, such as a surprising encounter with a bull, put her in mind of the comic stories found in an Anthony Trollope novel.

Everyone enjoyed the sumptuous catered luncheon repast and a good time was had by all. Thanks to the many members who worked hard to make the day a success especially those who came early to help Joan set everything up including Jennifer, Azarm, Aileen, Susan, Jayne, Bonnie, and Lorraine and several others who took time out of their busy schedules to arrange for and/or entertain our speakers and assist with transportation.

March 18, 2017 – Modes of Transportation in Jane Austen’s novels

At the March meeting, Joan Reynolds discussed various modes of transportation found in Jane Austen’s novels and others of the period. As is often true today, the kind of vehicle, or carriage, one could afford to maintain was an indication of status and bank account. Thanks Joan for your spirited and humorous talk.

March 2, 2017 – Special Event: “A Season for Friendly Meetings: Exploring Jane Austen’s Influences and Legacy”

**NOTE:  The panel discussion has been rescheduled from Feb. 3 to Thursday, March 2.**

UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections is delighted to announce that the Feb. 3 panel discussion which was postponed due to poor weather has been rescheduled. The date is now Thursday, March 2. A warm welcome is extended to all.

This panel discussion from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC (Lillooet Room, 301) will feature scholars from UBC and SFU speaking on topics ranging from “Jane Austen’s Print Trouble” to “Gothic Influence” to “Jane Austen as Popular Culture: Then and Now.” Moderated by UBC Professor Emeritus of English Dr. Herbert Rosengarten, the event is free and open to the public.
It is one of the many highlights featured in “Ever Austen: Literary Timelessness in the Regency Period’ , an exhibition mounted by UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections on now until February 28 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of one of the world’s great authors.
RBSC is also celebrating the recent acquisition of First Editions of Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’.
For more information to or call 604-822-2521.

December 10, 2016 – Jane Austen Christmas Luncheon

Our annual festive gathering featured a fascinating discussion on the Art of the Apothecary by Cole Benoit, proprietor of the Apothecary Bitters Company (

October 15, 2016 – Dr. Herbert Rosengarten Presents: Austen Bronte Connections

Michelle “mikes up” October guest speaker Dr. Herbert Rosengarten, Professor Emeritus, UBC English Department, and Bronte scholar. Dr. Rosengarten gave a lively and quite fascinating presentation on the similarities and the differences in the approach to their novels of two of our favourite authors, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. He pointed out that the plots of “Jane Eyre” and “Pride and Prejudice” really have a great deal in common although the writing styles are very different.

2016 Season

**The following books were reviewed by our members at the June 18 Books & Berries meeting:

  1. Bonnie Herron reviewed “Jane Austen Sings the Blues” – a memorial book honouring  the late Bruce Stovel, esteemed Austen scholar.
  2. Sandy Lundy reviewed “Indigo: From Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans” by Jenny Balfour Paul.
  3. Elizabeth Walker reviewed “The Bronte Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects” by Deborah Lutz.
  4. Lorraine Meltzer reviewed “Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor” by Stephanie Barron.
  5. Irene Howard reviewed “Voices from the World of Jane Austen” by Malcolm Day.
  6. Aileen Hollifield reviewed “Miss Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmas” by Rebecca Smith.
  7. Barbara Phillips reviewed “Fierce Convictions: The extraordinary life of Hannah More by Karen Swallow Prior.

FALL DATES:  Here are the dates of our fall/winter meetings. Watch for program announcements/changes here.

November 19:  “Writers in our Midst.”  We are delighted to welcome a trio of  our members to discuss how Jane Austen’s fiction has served as a source of inspiration for their own particular writing process. Bonnie Herron is the author of “My Courage Rises,” a work of historical fiction. Jennifer Bettiol has written her own completion of Austen’s “The Watsons.” Keiko Parker has recently published translations of  both “Emma” and “Persuasion” into Japanese.

Plus, we will have a review by members who attended the recent JASNA conference on “Emma at 200 – No One But Herself” which took place in Washington, DC.

December 10:  Don’t miss a fascinating discussion by Cole Benoit, proprietor of the Apothecary Bitters Company, who will delve into the art of the Apothecary.  Mr. Benoit’s company creates unique and appetizing bitters by hand using natural ingredients. These unique concoctions commonly used today in the blending of cocktails were, in Austen’s era, the basis of  tonics, medications, and various health treatments. “He had been at the pains of consulting Mr. Perry, the apothecary, on the subject.” (“Emma”)

August 14, 2016 – Special Event: Hycroft House presents: Garden Party at Pemberley

Sunday August 14th, 4 – 6 pm, $25.00
The University Women’s Club of Vancouver at Hycroft teams up with the Jane Austen Society of North America – Vancouver Region for an afternoon tea celebration of our favourite Regency period author. Featuring a short lecture on the author by Professor Amanda Burgess of UBC, plus other delightful activities as well as plenty of time to discuss your favourite moments from the novels. See updates at

Japanese translations of Persuasion and EmmaKeiko at Chawton

Long time JASNA Vancouver member (1981) and former chairperson Keiko Parker has recently published Japanese translations of Persuasion and Emma and both have been given pride of place in the group of Austen’s translated works in the ‘Emma at 200’ exhibit at the Chawton House Library in England.

June 18, 2016 – Books & Berries – Bountiful Basket WinnerBountiful basket

At the Books and Berries meeting in June, new JASNA Vancouver member Violet Hayes (on the right) received this year’s Bountiful Basket from Aileen Hollifield. Congratulations Violet!


May Meeting Highlight

20160514_115834JASNA Vancouver president Michelle Siu (l) welcomed Ruth Williamson and her husband Ian from New Zealand to our May meeting.

Mrs. Williamson, the founder of the Jane Austen Society of New Zealand, presented a fascinating talk on Robert William (R.W.) Chapman, scholar and famed Austen editor. After graduating from Oxford with a First in Classics and Humanities, Chapman began his career at Clarendon Press where he rose to become secretary. He married Katherine Marion Metcalfe, an accomplished scholar in her own right who made significant early contributions to her husband’s work on Austen.

Chapman wrote for the Times Literary Supplement while serving in World War I. He published editions of five Austen novels in 1923. This was followed by editions of Austen’s miscellaneous work in the 1920s and ’30s which were eventually collected in a sixth volume entitled “Minor Works of the Novels of Jane Austen.” He edited Austen’s correspondence which was criticized by some critics but later published a three-volume edition of Samuel Johnson’s letters which garnered universal praise. Chapman was a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary released during his tenure at Clarendon Press.

Chapman, according to Mrs. Williamson, was known as a most thorough and scrupulous editor; tireless in attention to correct grammatical usage and every other detail of the works which passed through his hands.



Step into history! Stand and be counted!

You are invited to take part in a Guinness World Record Challenge when the Centennial Belles stage a Jane Austen Festival in Port Alberni  this July 8 and 9. The Belles are hoping to get in the record books for ‘The most persons dressed in Regency costume at one gathering.’ To beat the current record, more than 409 costumed participants are needed and Jane Austen fans are warmly invited to join in. For all information on the festival including suggestions for nearby accommodation, go to

Christmas Entertainments:phyl-linds

Celebrating Jane Austen’s birthday with good food and good friends on Dec. 12. Phyllis and Lindsay play the parts of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner in Shannon Winslow’s vignette “Behind the Scenes” which highlights a lively discussion of Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth after the visit to Pemberley.

Jane Austen’s Discovery

jasna120747Thanks to Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies Professor Richard Harvey for his presentation on May 23 of “Jane Austen’s Discovery” which had us all guessing about whose “voice” Austen was using in various prose passages. More than almost any other author, Mr. Harvey said, Austen’s books bring deep satisfaction to her readers. Part of her secret, he said, was her novel way of using language to explore the emotional makeup and responses of characters. With Austen’s writing, literature took a great leap forward and later writers, such as George Eliot, studied Austen to improve their own narrative style. Mr. Harvey, a Psychotherapist in private practice, has explored the work of many great authors in SFU’s Continuing Studies program. A list of his lectures can be found at

Jane Austen Day – a grand success featuring two delightful speakers!

The fur trade in Canada during Jane Austen’s time

Pride & Prejudice at Metro Theatre


JASNA December Meeting

England expects every man (and woman) to do his (her) duty

jennifer-joanJennifer Bettiol (Lord Nelson) and Joan Reynolds (Captain Hardy) re-enacted Philip Stokes take on how regulations governing the British Navy have changed since the Battle of Trafalgar. Stokes, a former chairman of the Jane Austen Society of the U.K., gave his comedic presentation entitled Rears and Vices: the Georgian Royal Navy, at the recent JASNA AGM in Montreal. He is a direct descendent of Rear-Admiral Charles Austen, Jane’s brother, and is credited with giving her a gold chain and topaz, a scenario quite familiar to readers of Mansfield Park.

“Jane’s Bountiful Basket” Winner

JA Day Photos

Naval historian Anthony Sessions

On March 22 we welcomed naval historian Anthony Sessions who gave an overview of the British Navy during Jane Austen’s lifetime with references to her seagoing brothers Charles and Francis and their accomplishments.

Mr. Sessions, a long time collector of Lord Nelson and other naval memorabilia, discussed the remarkable career of the admiral and, during the question period, spoke about the memorable exploits of Captain James Cook. He recently donated items from his fascinating personal collection to the Vancouver Maritime Museum for their exhibit “Nelson’s Letters”. To learn more, go to

Christmas & Jane Austen’s Birthday

Many members got in the spirit to celebrate Christmas and Jane Austen’s birthday at our December meeting. We thank Bonnie for producing this excellent collection of photos showing us in our best Regency finery!

click image to view larger:

“Cosy Classics” children’s books

Holman Wang brought his “Cosy Classics” children’s books to the November meeting including “Pride and Prejudice” published last year and “Emma” which is about to appear. Holman and his brother Jack have ingeniously used just 12 words of print to describe the action in various classic tales including “Les Miserables”, “Tom Sawyer”, and “Moby Dick.” The books feature photos of fuzzy puppet dolls handcrafted by the Wang brothers to delight toddlers and their parents and introduce youngsters from babyhood up to classic literature.

Theatre at UBC Announces Pride and Prejudice

Click to see poster

Click to see poster

By Jon Jory (adapted from the novel by Jane Austen), Nov. 14 – 30, 2013 at the Frederic Wood Theatre, 6354 Crescent Rd., UBC

CURTAIN: 7:30 pm
TICKETS: Reg. $22/Senior $15/Student $10/Youth $2/Groups $2 off ~ plus service charges | $7 Preview Nov. 13
Talk Back: Wed. Nov. 20
BOX OFFICE: 604.822.2678

Jane Austen’s Families

Dr. June Sturrock

Dr. June Sturrock

Dr. June Sturrock, Professor Emeritus from Simon Fraser University, gave an entertaining presentation from her book “Jane Austen’s Families” (Anthem, 2013), focussing on mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters.



Celebration to honour the late Joan Austen-Leigh

On Sept. 14, several of our members attended a special celebration to honour the late Joan Austen-Leigh, one of three co-founders of the Jane Austen Society of North America,  hosted by the Victoria Jane Austen Society. Thanks to everyone who made our visit so enjoyable.

JASNA Vancouver June meeting: Books and Berries

The following books were reviewed by our members:

“What Happens in Jane Austen” by John Mullan and “The Chief Factor’s Daughter” by Vanessa Winn were reviewed by Mary Atkins.

“Patronage” by Maria Edgeworth was reviewed by Jackie Johnson.

“Tea with the Bennets of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: An Anthology of Recipes” by Margaret Vaughan and “The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen: A Novel” by Syrie James were reviewed by Lorraine Melzer.

“Britons” by Linda Colley”, “Jane Austen’s Juvenilia” and “Jane Austen in Style” by Susan Watkins were reviewed by Sandy Lundy

Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen sequels: “Jane and the Man of the Cloth” and “Jane and the Wandering Eye” were reviewed by Irene Howard.

“The Best Laid Plans” by Terry Fallis was reviewed by Ron Sutherland.

“The Age of Wonder – How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science” by Richard Holmes and “Master Under Good Regulation” by Kara Louise were reviewed by Joan Reynold.


Winner of the draw for “Jane’s Bountiful Basket”

Audrey NormanAudrey Norman is this year’s winner of the draw for “Jane’s Bountiful Basket” – a cornucopia of delightful Jane Austen-related gifts which JASNA Vancouver gives away annually to some lucky new member. Audrey picked up her basket on June 15 at the conclusion of “Books and Berries”, the last meeting of the year before our summer hiatus.” See you in September.

Cultivating Sense from the Cult of Sensibility

SpoonersJane Austen Vancouver member Susan Spooner with her daughter Emma who was dressed in Regency finery for her presentation at the May 18 meeting on “Cultivating Sense from the Cult of Sensibility: The Influence of Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.” Emma is engaged in post-graduate studies at the University of Calgary and working on her doctoral thesis which will have an Austen focus.

DSC_0070sm Special guest visitor JASNA president Iris Lutz (right) chats with a JASNA Vancouver Region member following her fascinating presentation on several houses occupied by Jane Austen and her family. Lutz gave a virtual tour of the various homes which Austen shared with her sister Cassandra, her mother, and other family members from her earliest years in Steventon Rectory to her final abode prior to her death and burial in Winchester Cathedral.
DSC_0071sm Civic Historian John Atkin (right) spoke on architecture of the Regency period on the afternoon of Vancouver’s annual Jane Austen Day and was a guest for lunch. Atkin conducts walking tours of Vancouver and also of London, England. More information on his tours is available at

Columnist explains how he was captured by wit and wisdom of Jane Austen

Vancouver Sun columnist Pete McMartin explains how he was unexpectedly captured by the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen on his first reading of Pride and Prejudice.

Thanks Mr. McMartin – the Vancouver Janeites share your views!”


  • Read the full article here


Jane Austen Day

Jane Austen Day, May 26, brought together our members to hear two excellent speakers. Dr. John Stape, adjunct professor of English, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver, spoke on Jane Austen and Mozart in the morning session while Dr. Pauline Beard, from Pacific University of Oregon, discussed Lady Bertram: Lover or Loafer? during the afternoon.

P.S., the catered lunch was delicious and the quizzes were fun. Thanks to all organizers!

“Emma” at Metro Theatre Vancouver

EmmaMetro Theatre Vancouver presents “Emma”, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel by Michael Bloom, from May 19-June 16 at 8 p.m. For tickets call 604-266-7191 or go to The Metro Theatre is located at 1370 Southwest Marine Drive.

On April 28, a fully costumed Chris Dellinger (Mr. Knightley) and “Emma” director Joan Bryans gave a talk to JASNA Vancouver members on the process of bringing the novel to the stage.


St. Patrick’s Day brunch

Jane Austen Vancouver members enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day brunch after talks on Jane Austen’s Connections to Ireland by Joan Reynolds, Jennifer Bettiol and Laureen McMahon.

Suggested Reading List:

Jane Austen: The Parson’s Daughter by Irene Collins – Hambledon Press (1998) – available in JASNA Library:

Jane Austen and the Clergy by Irene Collins – Hambledon Press (2002) – available in JASNA Library:

Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen by Peter J. Leithart – Canon Press (2004):

Jane Austen’s Anglicanism by Laura Moneyham White (2011) Ashgate.

(All are currently viewable on-line at Google Books).

Christ Church Cathedral Visit

Jane Austen Vancouver members visited Christ Church Cathedral to hear about Jane Austen and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and take a tour of the refurbished cathedral.

Highlights of Forth Worth

Our JASNA Vancouver members recall highlights of Forth Worth, 2011

Dr. Rowan McMaster

Dr. Rowan McMaster consulted these works for his presentation to our region on Women on Men-of-War ships.

Consulted Works

Books and Berries books:

The following books were reviewed in June, 2011

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson reviewed by Joan Reynolds.

Dianna Mosley by Anne de Courcy reviewed by Sandy Lundy.

Up and Down Stairs: A History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson reviewed by Joan Reynolds.

The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis reviewed by Elspeth Flood.

Mrs. Delany and Her Circle by M. Laird and A. Weisberg-Roberts reviewed by Sandy Lundy

Sugar: A Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbott reviewed by Joan Reynolds.

A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen edited by Susannah Carson reviewed by Phyllis Bottomer.

Plus – The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock and Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.

Little Flower Academy Regency dancing

Little Flower Academy English students demonstrate Regency dancing for the Jane Austen Vancouver Region members on May 14.

Jane Austen Christmas

Ron Richardson’s presentation

Family therapist and Jane Austen enthusiast Ron Richardson’s presentation to JASNA Vancouver on March 20/2010

The Good Marriage in Jane Austen’s Novels (PDF)

Dr. Robert Miles’ presentation

Presentation by Dr. Robert Miles, University of Victoria, on Dec. 12

Jane Austen, Happiness and Moral Luck (PDF)

Victoria Tang’s award-winning essay

UBC student Victoria Tang’s award-winning essay (PDF) presented on Nov. 14.

Chawton House

On this video, Sandy Lerner, founder of Cisco Systems discusses her plans to search out books authored by long-neglected women writers of the 18th century for the Chawton House Library.

Ann Kent talk on gardens and floral design

Our region welcomed Ann Kent, a horticultural therapist and educator from VanDusen Botanical Gardens, on June 27 to give an illuminating talk on gardens and floral design from the Regency period.

Handout from the talk (PDF)

JANE AUSTEN DAY – The Law, Lords and Ladies

Seattle lawyer Jim Nagel was the featured speaker for this year’s Jane Austen Day in Vancouver. Following a catered lunch, the afternoon was filled with games and skits in the “drawing” room.

Thanks to all who organized the wonderful event.

Fun and Frivolity at KCTS Hycroft Tea:

To highlight their Masterpiece Classics series of Jane Austen programs, KCTS Seattle hosted a tea and dance at Hycroft in Vancouver. Several JASNA Vancouver members participated in the dancing exhibition for the 120 Austen fans who attended.

Talks for our members

The following talks were presented recently to our members in Vancouver. Click to read them.

‘Strangers filling their place’: Jane Austen and the Decline of the Landed Order” (PDF) by Haymen Leong. Presentation to JASNA Vancouver May 24, 2008.

Austen Lecture & Prologue (PDF)

Dr. John Hulcoop, Professor Emeritus of the University of British Columbia, presentation to JASNA Vancouver on Jane Austen Day, April 12, 2008.

Women’s Travel in the Time of Jane Austen (PDF)

by Barbara Hodgson

A talk for the Jane Austen Society, given on 8 April 2006, on the occasion of Jane Austen Day.

Soup and Snobbery: Food in the Novels of Jane Austen

by Tanya Lewis

A talk for the Jane Austen Society, given on 8 April 2006, on the occasion of Jane Austen Day.